Some people believe that improved methods in diagnosis have resulted in this large jump in autism cases. Others believe that the rise in autism can be attributed to the sheer number of immunizations given to young children today, frequently given as “cocktails” within relatively short intervals. One thing that has changed during the last few decades, is our environment.
We are in direct and constant contact with our environment. What we eat, drink, breathe and touch, has a profound effect on our inner environment. We hear about toxicity on a daily basis: toys tainted with lead and other toxic materials, baby formula that is being recalled, drinking water that in many places around the world is unsafe to drink, hormones in our meat and dairy products. Not to mention the (over) use of plastic bags and plastic bottles.
When can a child be a child?
Barely a day old, your child is given its first immunization shot, for Hepatitis B. And this is just the beginning… Your child will be given a total of X immunizations during the first 4 years of his/her life. This is, of course, to protect the child and society from a large number of diseases. But many times, doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical companies ignore the effect of such aggressive immunization protocols on the child’s developing immune system and brain and rather go with efficiency: the child is perhaps seen only a few times a year and since all children will have to be immunized by school age, large cocktails of vaccines are being given in a short time span.
Every parent forever remembers the day their child was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It hits you like a brick. Our case was no different. Our son was barely 3 years old, when he received the diagnosis. First you’re in shock, then disbelief and perhaps a period of denial. You may go for a second opinion, perhaps from a developmental pediatrician. The result is almost always the same: doctors recommending therapies aimed at modifying the child’s behavior.
Frequently, the parents’ primary concern of the child not being able to talk and to express him-or herself, is being ignored. As has been described by the Cherab organization in detail, this “attitude” is a disservice to children with developmental delays and could result in your child not receiving the appropriate therapies and support in school.
Since most tests for diagnosing autism and school admittance tests are verbal-based, many children with a speech delay will perform very badly at such tests. It is important to remember that speech is at the very basis of social interactions and that the earlier parents work on improving their child’s speech, the better the outcome.
Based on the findings of Cherab, we began giving our son fish oil on a daily basis and aggressive speech therapy. The fish oil had a positive effect on his speech, giving him the ability to say a fair number of single words by age 3.5. However, while he was able to say those words when prompted, his expressive speech was lagging behind. This was very frustrating, as his inability to express himself to us resulted in many tantrums. We were also concerned about his lack interactions with peers.
The Gut-Brain-Axis Hypothesis
As a father who desperately wanted to communicate with his son and being trained as a neuroscientist with an interest in herbal medicine, I started giving our son various herbs that were described in the scientific literature as having an effect on the digestive system and the brain. Being a supporter of the so-called “Gut-Brain-Axis” hypothesis in autism, plus the fact that so many parents of children with autism report positive effects on their child’s behavior after switching to a casein and gluten-free diet, I strongly believed that our son’s developmental delay was somehow related to inflammatory processes in the brain and gut.
After studying the effects of many different herbal extracts, many of which either did not have an effect or had a negative effect on behavior, I arrived at a liquid supplement formulation that is now called PureChild supplement. It has had a tremendous effect on our son’s verbal abilities as well as his social interactions.
It is important to remember that our supplement is one of the options to help a child with developmental delays. Appropriate therapy such as speech and occupational therapy are also very important. The blog on this site will give parents get a better understanding about recent developments in autism research as well as an opportunity to discuss various autism-related issues with other parents.
Main photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash
More information on The Cherab Foundation.